"you paid for me..."
Sex is everywhere, it is a currency, both physical and unspoken. Where there is coexistence, there is the solicit of sexual favour for social or economic gain. The relationship which society maintains with sexual behaviour, is definitive of how the sex industry is viewed. In recent decades – despite social progress and feminist intervention – sex workers are still ostracised and associated unfairly with the bleak sexual scandals that cover post-industrial northern England; The Ripper Murders, the grooming gangs and the narcotic dependency of some sex workers. In response to their unfavourable social standing, sex workers occupy multiple identities expressed through various personas. Motivated by judgment, safety or empathy, the workers follow a routine of identity manifestation as they attempt to separate their various aliases from one another.
“You paid for me…” is an anthropological exploration into the humanity of sex workers, the masks which they must adorn, and the sexual behaviour that characterises how we view the relationship between sex and society. My work traces a lineage of sexual indecency and exploitation through Northern England. Simultaneously “you paid for me …” tracks the experiences of a sex worker who has split her identity into four personas; her authentic-self, the persona she uses to communicate over an online blog, her identity as a sex worker within that blog and the alias she uses to communicate with clients. My work tracks the establishment and maintenance of a relationship between myself and this sex worker, and her continued contribution to the work itself.
2018 - current: work in progress